Legislative Affairs

CARES 2 / Next COVID Relief Package Update

  • 1.  CARES 2 / Next COVID Relief Package Update

    Posted 07-23-2020 15:08
    Since COVID-19 was declared a national emergency, Congress passed several COVID stimulus or relief packages to support nationwide response and recovery efforts in March and April. These include:
    • COVID 1 package - H.R. 6074: Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020
    • COVID 2 package - H.R. 6201: Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
    • COVID 3 package - H.R. 748: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES)
    • COVID 3.5 / 4 package - H.R. 266: Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act
    • COVID 4 / 5 package - TBD / in progress, informally referred to as "CARES 2" 

    For the COVID 4 / 5 package, House Democrats passed their proposal on May 15, H.R. 6800, the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, which was dead on arrival in the Senate. On June 30th, Senate Democrats introduced the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA), a $430 billion fiscal aid proposal for child care providers, K-12 schools, colleges, and universities as concerns about school reopening became center to the national conversation of restarting the economy, following information shared by ASBO International and AASA regarding the estimated costs districts may incur to safely reopen schools.

    In mid-July Senate Republicans started negotiations on their own COVID 4 / 5 proposal in conjunction with the White House to pass a bill before the end of month. Lawmakers are pressured to pass another COVID package soon due to expiring provisions concerning unemployment benefits, eviction rules on federally-back mortgages, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and the urgent need for K-12 education funding to help schools prepare for a safe school year. (For more details on competing House, Senate, and Trump Administration priorities with the next COVID package, visit this link.)

    Senate Republicans were expected to reveal their COVID 4 / 5 or "CARES 2" proposal this week, however due to disagreements on the proposal scope, cost, and specific unemployment provisions, we may not see bill text until next week. The Committee for Education Funding (CEF; cef.org) has shared several provisions that reportedly are in the bill, but we won't know for sure until we see the bill text:

    • Senate bill total is near $1 trillion.
    • The bill includes $105 billion in supplemental funding for K-12 & higher education, most of which would go through the Education Stabilization Fund in the CARES Act.
      • $70 billion is for K-12 education.
        • $10 billion would be reserved for private schools, including the President's proposed Education Freedom Scholarships program and tuition tax credits for donations to scholarship funds for private schools.
        • $30 billion would be reserved for schools that reopen and thus face new costs - there is no detail on the language tying funding to reopening plans, or defining what qualifies as reopening for this funding. The $30 billion for all K-12 education would be allocated to "every school on a per capita basis" which is different than the Title I formula and that would seem to include all private schools. (Please note we will have more clarity once we have the bill text). 
      • $30 billion is for higher education, and is not tied to whether colleges reopen for in-person classes.
      • $5 billion is for the CARES Act GEERS governor's discretionary fund that can support across the education continuum.
    • The Senate package reportedly will not include additional revenue relief for state and local government
      • Note the House-passed Heroes Act included nearly $1 trillion in such relief, which could be used to backfill shortages in state and local education funding caused by lower tax revenue this year and next year.

    Please stay tuned to the Legislative Affairs Community for more information. As soon as we have final bill text, we will share any updates here.


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    ASBO USA
    asbousa@asbointl.org
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  • 2.  RE: CARES 2 / Next COVID Relief Package Update

    Posted 07-30-2020 17:59
    ASBOUSA has posted a new legislative blog that shares key highlights of the Senate Republicans' proposal for the next COVID relief package, "What's in the Republican COVID Bill (HEALS Act) for K-12 Schools?".

    Please note that lawmakers must now negotiate to find a bipartisan agreement between the HEROES, CCERA, and HEALS Act proposals before we will know what is in the next COVID Phase 4 / 5 bill. Stay tuned to the Legislative Affairs Community for further updates.

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    ASBO USA
    asbousa@asbointl.org
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  • 3.  RE: CARES 2 / Next COVID Relief Package Update

    Posted 08-19-2020 08:25
    Edited by ASBO USA 08-19-2020 13:18

    Congress still has yet to negotiate an agreement on the next COVID stimulus relief package. Amidst the gridlock, President Trump issued an executive order and three memorandums in an attempt to bypass Congressional gridlock on several issues, including student loan relief, eviction moratoriums, payroll tax deferrals, and unemployment benefits. 


    Two items school business officials will want to watch out for are any changes to payroll taxes and unemployment benefits. More information about the payroll tax deferral memo can be found here. As for unemployment benefits, the administration is seeking to use unspent FEMA funds for this purpose. This is a difficult logistical feat for many states to utilize since it would require creating a new, separate unemployment benefit program that adheres to FEMA's payment structure, whereby states would have to address costs up front and seek a 75% reimbursement from the federal government. Fewer than half of the states have taken advantage of the assistance offered through that memo because it would be too cumbersome too implement.

    Meanwhile, the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) reports that Senate Republicans released a smaller proposal for a COVID relief bill on Tuesday, which is a narrower or "skinny" version of the HEALS Act, and comes as House Democrats are drafting their own stand-alone Postal Service bill. The GOP's new proposal, S. 178 "Delivering Immediate Relief to America's Families, Schools, and Small Businesses Act" includes:

    • $10 billion for the U.S. Postal Service (versus $25 billion in the House Democrat standalone postal service bill)
    • $300 in boosted weekly federal unemployment benefits until December 27
    • More funding for the Payment Protection Program (PPP)
    • Liability protections for employers including schools
    • $105 billion for education (67% for K-12 education, 28% for higher education, and 5% for governors' funds to support education). Funding eligibility and distribution is similar to provisions in the HEALS Act. (See our blog for more information.)
      • Differences between this Senate proposal for education and the HEALS Act -- The education funding and policies not included in this bill that was in the HEALS Act include:
        • $40 million for Department of Education (ED) student aid administration, $65 million for the Institute of Education Sciences to carry out the National Assessment of Education Progress, $8 million for ED program management, $7 million for ED’s Inspector General, and $15 billion for child care (including a new program within the Child Care and Development Block Grant).
    • $29 billion for public health

    So far, Democratic leadership has expressed opposition to negotiating the GOP's "skinny" proposal, so it remains to be seen whether Congress can reach an agreement. Lawmakers are on recess and not scheduled to return to D.C. until after Labor Day. As we learn more information, we will share updates in the Legislative Affairs Community.

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    ASBO USA
    asbousa@asbointl.org
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  • 4.  RE: CARES 2 / Next COVID Relief Package Update

    Posted 09-09-2020 08:37
    Edited by ASBO USA 09-09-2020 08:37

    As noted last month, Senate Republicans were working on another COVID relief package which is a narrower, pared down version of the HEALS Act—the Delivering Immediate Relief to America's Families, Schools, and Small Businesses Act. (The official/final bill text is available here, and a summary can be found here.)

    Although this bill will come up for a vote on Thursday, it is not expected to get Democratic support and will not pass. However, it is helpful to know what is in it since it signals what Republican lawmakers' priorities are for the next COVID package as they continue to negotiate across the aisle.

    What's in the bill?
    As highlighted in our prior alert, the bill would provide postal service funding, employer liability protection (including for schools), continue the PPP program for businesses, extend unemployment insurance at $300/week instead of $600/week through December, and provide some education and childcare relief funding (but no state and local fiscal relief). While there is no official cost estimate for the bill,  the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) reports the net is expected to be about $500 billion.

    Education provisions in the proposal are similar to what was in the HEALS Act, which would provide $105 billion for the CARES Act's Education Stabilization Fund (ESF) and $15 billion for childcare. As a refresher, that funding would be divided as follows:

    • 1% for Bureau of Indian Education and outlying areas.
    • 5% ($5.2 billion) for Governors' Emergency Relief Funds – can be used for any emergency grants for education.
    • 67% ($69.7 billion) for the Elementary and Secondary Education Fund (allocated based on the Title I formula to states. 1/3 of funding ($23.2 billion) will immediately be made available to LEAs. The remaining 2/3 will only be awarded to LEAs based on school reopening criteria in favor of LEAs that provide in-person instruction to at least half the students served at least half of the school week.
      • States must set aside funding for private schools based on the proportion of private school students they had before the pandemic hit. Funding is allocated based on the number of low-income students in all non-public schools, and private schools providing no in-person education are eligible for only 1/3 of the funding.
    • 28% ($29.1 billion) for higher education.
    • $15 billion for childcare programs under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - $5 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and $10 billion for the "Back to Work Child Care Grants" through CCDBG.


    What is different between this bill and the HEALS Act?

    • There is no maintenance of effort (MOE) requirement – states don't have to maintain support for K-12 and higher education at the same levels as in the past, or even at the same proportional levels related to the state's overall spending in a previous fiscal year (FY2019).
    • It allows the governor's relief fund to be used for Education Freedom Scholarships and would create a new tax credit program to fund it – like the HEALS Act, this bill authorizes the Education Freedom Scholarships and allows but does not require the relief fund to be used to support eligible scholarship-granting organizations. The bill authorizes but doesn't appropriate funding directly for the scholarships; it does however include a new tax credit to support them. The bill would create a two-year tax credit for contributions to scholarship-granting organizations (considered a backdoor private voucher program).
    • Expands allowable uses of 529 accounts for K-12 home expenses – it allows parents to use these funds for two years for certain homeschooling and K-12 education costs during the pandemic.
    • Does not include any student loan policy or any other Department of Education funding.
    • Leaves out provisions that would provide an additional round of stimulus checks and rental and mortgage assistance.


    As lawmakers make progress on negotiations for the next package, we will continue to provide updates here on the Global School Business Network. In the meantime, we encourage members to continue contacting their officials about the provisions that matter most to their districts and schools. Please feel free to use ASBO International's Legislative Resources to support your advocacy efforts. If you have any questions about advocating with your officials, please contact us



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    ASBO USA
    asbousa@asbointl.org
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  • 5.  RE: CARES 2 / Next COVID Relief Package Update

    Posted 09-06-2020 15:23
    Thank you for always keeping us updated! Just checking in to see if you anticipate any movement on the next COVID relief package in the near future?


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    Katie Johnson
    Deputy Executive Director
    Ohio ASBO
    katie@oasbo-ohio.org
    Westerville, OH
    United States
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  • 6.  RE: CARES 2 / Next COVID Relief Package Update

    Posted 09-08-2020 11:47

    Hi Katie, thanks for asking! We are monitoring this issue very closely. While nothing is final as of yet, here is what we're hearing on the Hill:

    Congress was on recess for the Labor Day holiday and did not reach an agreement on the next COVID package before adjourning. Both the House Democrat HEROES Act and Republican Senate HEALS Act were considered dead on arrival and negotiations remained at a standstill. The Senate is in session this week, but the House won't be back in session until next week. Congress has the following priorities for the next few weeks:

    • Preventing a government shutdown. Federal funding expires at the end of the fiscal year (September 30) and Congress is behind on its appropriations work. (The House passed 10/12 bills and the Senate has passed none). Pelosi and Mnuchin are working on negotiations for a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funded at the same levels and running – but we don't know how long (best estimate would be through the elections or December).

    • Negotiating another COVID package. There is still wide partisan disagreement on what the next pandemic relief package should provide. McConnell plans to introduce another proposal this week – but it is an even skinnier/smaller bill than the HEALS Act. Democrats refuse to support a smaller bill since they want a more comprehensive package. Republicans are looking at a $500 billion bill, whereas Democrats won't go for anything below $2.2 trillion, so there is a big gap to address there. We do not yet have any details about possible education funding provisions at this time. A big sticking point causing gridlock between both sides is whether to provide significant fiscal relief ($915 billion) to states and localities, which Democrats want but Republicans don't.

     

    Once we have more substantial information from Congressional negotiations, we will post an alert here in the community. Please know that ASBO International is continuing to advocate for at least $200 billion in federal education aide ($175 billion via CARES funding and $25 billion for categorical funding via Title I and IDEA) for schools. If you have any other questions, please feel free to post them here!

    Sincerely,



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    Elleka Yost
    Government Affairs & Communications Manager
    ASBO International
    eyost@asbointl.org
    Ashburn, VA
    United States
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  • 7.  RE: CARES 2 / Next COVID Relief Package Update

    Posted 09-08-2020 11:54

    This is very helpful. Thanks so much for all your (ASBO's) work, Elleka!

     

    Katie E. Johnson, Esq.

    Deputy Executive Director

    Katie@oasbo-ohio.org

     

    oasbo-logo-150px

     

    Ohio Association of School Business Officials

    98 Commerce Park Drive | Westerville, Ohio 43082

     

    O: 614-431-9116, ext. 110 | C:  614-404-5277 | Toll-free: 844-838-5395

    www.oasbo-ohio.org

    Facebook  Twitter

     




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  • 8.  RE: CARES 2 / Next COVID Relief Package Update

    Posted 09-16-2020 15:11

    Yesterday, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers from the Problem Solvers Caucus released a framework for a COVID-relief package that attempts to find a compromise between the Democrat-proposed HEROES Act and Republican-proposed HEALS Act. The outline is smaller in scope and cost than the HEROES Act but larger than the HEALS Act and the other Republican skinny bill (the Delivering Immediate Relief to America's Families, Schools, and Small Businesses Act). Unfortunately, House and Senate leadership on both sides are not interested in supporting the moderate caucus' proposal. Democrats indicated they would only be willing to agree to a $2.2 trillion COVID package (coming down from an original ask of $3 trillion), whereas Republicans have refused to support a package greater than $500 billion. The Problem Solvers Caucus proposal totals about $1.5 trillion.

    For more information on what's in the Problem Solvers Caucus proposal, see the proposal here. Some items of interest to school business officials are below. The proposal would provide:

    • $100 billion for elementary and secondary education - for K-12 schools for virtual, hybrid, and/or in-person learning.
    • $30 billion for institutions of higher education
    • $15 billion for child care providers, with $10 billion for providers and $5 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant
    • $12 billion for broadband access (hot spots in under-served communities)
    • $500.3 billion for state and local aid (which can help schools since a large share of state budgets are used for education), 
    • Student loan forbearance extended through the end of the year (the CARES Act relief expires at the end of September, however a recent Presidential executive order also addressed this issue)
    • Another round of stimulus checks ($1,200/person + $500/child)
    • Rental assistance and other rent stabilization programs and/or another evition moratorium through January 2021 ($25 billion)
    • Unemployment assistance ($450/week for an 8-week transition period, followed by up to $600/week and up to but not exceeding 100% of the individual's previous wage; duration would be 13 weeks from mid October through January 2021)
    • $240 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) - also would allow businesses to take a second loan from the program and other updates.
    • Employer liability protections for businesses, schools, and other employers that follow enhanced OSHA guidelines to protect worker safety.

    If Congress cannot break through its gridlock on COVID-relief negotiations, it is possible that another package may not come until after the 2020 elections. With Election Day fast approaching, lawmakers' focus are divided between campaigning, passing a government funding bill to keep agencies open (fiscal year ends September 30), and passing another COVID relief bill. House Speaker Pelosi announced this week that the House will not go on its October recess unless another COVID package has been negotiated, however it remains to be seen if this will provide enough pressure to work out an agreement. As this issue evolves, we will continue to share information here on the network. 

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    ASBO USA
    asbousa@asbointl.org
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  • 9.  RE: CARES 2 / Next COVID Relief Package Update

    Posted 09-16-2020 16:17

    Thanks so much! Your updates are greatly appreciated.

     

    Katie E. Johnson, Esq.

    Deputy Executive Director

    Katie@oasbo-ohio.org

     

    oasbo-logo-150px

     

    Ohio Association of School Business Officials

    98 Commerce Park Drive | Westerville, Ohio 43082

     

    O: 614-431-9116, ext. 110 | C:  614-404-5277 | Toll-free: 844-838-5395

    www.oasbo-ohio.org

    Facebook  Twitter

     




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  • 10.  RE: CARES 2 / Next COVID Relief Package Update

    Posted 10-07-2020 14:21

    Last week, House Democrats proposed an updated version of the HEROES act (HEROES 2.0) as the latest counteroffer for a COVID-19 relief package. Find the HEROES 2.0 full bill text here; a section-by-section summary here; and bill provisions on state and local aid in this one-pager here.

    Below are some education-specific provisions in the HEROES Act that may be of interest, as reported from the Committee for Education Funding (CEF; cef.org).

    • Department of Education (ED) funding– The bill includes a total of $225 billion for education. There are some technical clarifications in addition to the following funding provisions:
      • $208.1 billion for ED's Education Stabilization Fund (page 148) – Funding is allocated to states based on a combination of the number of school-aged children and the number of Title I-eligible children. Funding is not dependent upon schools reopening, and can be used for the types of services and supplies that were allowed under the CARES Act. Funding is divided as follows:
        • $175 billion for elementary and secondary education (ESSER Fund)
        • $27 billion for public postsecondary education, with 75% based on the number of Pell Grant-eligible students. Funds can be used for an institution's needs and for grants to students (there is a separate section described below for private institutions).
        • $4 billion for governors to use on education, including restoring state and local education support (GEER Fund) (pp. 150-151 of bill text)
        • $2 billion for Bureau of Indian Education, tribal colleges, and outlying areas.
        • Maintenance of effort (MOE) – States must maintain the percent of their budgets spent on education in fiscal year (FY) 2019 for FYs 2020 through 2022, with further specific assurances for K-12 funding and higher education (pages 154-155).
      • $11.9 billion for higher education(page 164) – This section includes funding for private institutions of higher education, and the allowable uses reflect those for public institutions in the Education Stabilization Fund.
      • $5 billion for K-12 school facilities to respond to the coronavirus (p. 158) – Funds can be used for repairs and improvements to support student health needs, including improvements to allow outdoor teaching. Federal funds are not normally allowed to be used for physical school maintenance costs (the Impact Aid program does have a facilities account).
      • $32 million for Institute of Education Sciences (IES) (p. 171) – Funding is for the National Assessment of Educational Progress Assessment Act for reading and math assessments in 2021.
      • $7 million for the Office of Inspector General

      • Other education-related funding:
        • $57 billion for child care (p. 104) – Provides $7 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant for providers and $50 billion for a state Child Care Stabilization Fund.
        • $12 billion to close the homework gap and $3 billion for emergency home connectivity (pp. 61-62) – The $12 billion is for schools and libraries to fund Wi-fi hotspots and devices.
        • $2.1 billion for worker training(p. 83)
        • $1.7 billion for Head Start
        • $350 million for the Corporation for National and Community Service (p. 176)
        • $175 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (p. 179)
        • $135 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (p. 179)

       

      As with other partisan COVID-relief packages, HEROES 2.0 is another proposal that would still require further negotiations for Congress to reach an agreement. Last week, we were heartened to see negotiations continue between House Speaker Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, however there was still significant disagreement on how much state/local aid the next relief package should provide. Negotiations stalled once again after news emerged last Friday that President Trump tested positive for COVID-19 and was being cared for at Walter Reed Medical Center. After the President was discharged on Monday to return to the White House, he announced on Tuesday that he instructed staff to stop negotiating on a COVID-19 stimulus plan until after the elections and is instead focusing on the Supreme Court nomination process to fill the vacancy opened after Justice Ginsburg's recent passing.

      Stay tuned for more updates on COVID-relief legislation and education funding here on ASBO's Legislative Affairs Community as we learn more information.



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      ASBO USA
      asbousa@asbointl.org
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    • 11.  RE: CARES 2 / Next COVID Relief Package Update

      Posted 10-15-2020 07:26
      Late last week, the Trump Administration made an offer of a $1.8 trillion COVID-relief package that both House Democratic leaders and Senate Republicans have rejected. The House and Senate are both on recess this week while the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.

      On Tuesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi
      outlined her caucus's concerns with the administration's proposal, noting it provides less assistance than the $2.2 trillion relief package the House passed last month, which was already a concession from the original larger HEROES Act that the House passed in May. The speaker called out the Administration's proposal for $300 billion in state and local relief and $25 billion for child care as insufficient in particular. Moreover, House Education and Labor Committee chair Bobby Scott (D-VA) rejected the Administration's reported offer of $150 billion for education, saying "The lack of sufficient support for state and local governments, in combination with their measly offer to increase funding for education stabilization, is not enough to help schools reopen safely. Additionally, our child care system is on the brink of collapse and their proposal would not even cover half of what is needed. If we cannot reopen schools safely and without child care, we will never fully be able to reopen the economy." 

      The Committee for Education Funding (CEF) reports that there still could be movement towards a compromise on another package, but first the Republican Senate is likely to make clear what it can support, since negotiations are currently between the House and the Administration. As we continue to monitor COVID-relief package negotiations, we will be sure to share information here on the network. 


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      ASBO USA
      asbousa@asbointl.org
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    • 12.  RE: CARES 2 / Next COVID Relief Package Update

      Posted 12-10-2020 16:44
        |   view attached

      In the latest round of COVID-relief negotiations, yesterday a bipartisan group of lawmakers released a $908 billion proposal (summary is attached to this post; no bill text has been released). "The Bipartisan Emergency COVID Relief Act of 2020" is considered a last-attempt effort to pass another package before the end of Congress' 116th session and is far from final, as many Congress members are unhappy with the bill for either including liability protections for employers related to COVID-19 lawsuits or providing $160 billion for state and local government aid.

      There are however, several provisions that school business professionals may be interested in, highlighted below.

      • Unemployment insurance
        • Pandemic unemployment insurance (UI) programs would be extended by 16 weeks after the December 31 deadline. 
        • An additional $300/week in federal supplemental UI benefits would be provided for 16 weeks through April 2021.

      • Small Business Loans/PPP
        • $300 billion would be provided the Small Business Administration.
        • Hardest-hit small businesses would be eligible to receive a second draw/forgivable loan through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). PPP eligibility would also be expanded to include some 501c6 organizations. Loan forgiveness for small loans (under $150,000) would be simplified.

      • Education & Child Care
        • Student loan forbearance provisions would be extended through the end of April 2021.
        • $82 billion would be provided for education providers (funded similar to the CARES Act) Would include funding for the Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER; including funding for private schools); Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER; K-12 education); Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund; and relief for territories and Bureau of Indian Education.
        • Would provide $10 billion to support child care providers struggling due to COVID-19.

      • Health, Nutrition, & Housing
        • $7 billion would be granted for states, territories, and tribes for COVID testing and contact tracing. Of that amount, $825 million would be used at the Secretary's discretion to states, which includes authorization grants for Federally Qualified Health Centers, school-based health clinics, schools, academic medical centers, colleges and universities, research labs, veterinary labs, nonprofits, Indian tribes, local governments, and other entities 
        • Would temporarily increase individual monthly SNAP by 15% for four months and expand the Pandemic-EBT program to cover families with children in child care. 
        • Would extend free meals reimbursement through the Child and Adult Care Food Program to young adults up to age 25 residing in emergency shelters.
        • Would provide $3.15B to SAMHSA programs for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant, tribal programs, emergency relief, and peer recovery programs.
        • The eviction moratorium would be extended until the end of January, and $25 billion would be provided in rental assistance to state and local governments and Native American tribes.

      • Broadband/Infrastructure
        • Would provide $3 billion for an Emergency Educational Connectivity Fund to provide E-Rate support to educational/distance learning providers to provide hotspots, devices, and other connected devices, and advance digital equity/inclusion. Funds would be prioritized to rural areas with the highest need.

      It remains to be seen whether the proposal will make progress through Congress, as negotiations for a fifth relief package have broken down multiple times this year. Please stay tuned for additional updates as negotiations evolve and we learn more information. 



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      ASBO USA
      asbousa@asbointl.org
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    • 13.  RE: CARES 2 / Next COVID Relief Package Update

      Posted 12-14-2020 14:48
      Edited by ASBO USA 12-14-2020 14:57

      This evening, legislative text is expected to be released for a bipartisan $908 billion COVID-relief package that has been in the works, which we also noted in our legislative alert last week. The Committee for Education Funding (CEF) reports the COVID-relief package may actually be split into two parts to increase chances of passage.

      1. The first part would have $748 billion for "non-controversial" items, including education funding, which was reported to be $82 billion at the onset of discussions. (Note that ASBO and other education organizations have been advocating for at least $175 billion for K-12 education and continue to do so.)
      2. The second part of the bill includes controversial provisions that lawmakers have not come to agreement on, including $160 billion for state and local relief. Democrats favor state/local aid ever since they passed the HEROES Act in the House last  May, which would have provided $915 billion in state and local relief. The second version passed this fall, HEROES 2.0, only asked for $436 billion in an attempt to compromise with Republicans who sought a smaller, more fiscally responsible package. (So, the current $160 billion figure is a far cry from their original ask, and note that about 40% of state funding is used for education, so there are chances that some of this local aid could be allocated to education depending on how state governors wish to use those funds.)
        The second part of the bill would also provide a temporary liability shield for employers against pandemic-related lawsuits, another controversial provision that Republicans are in favor of but Democrats are not. Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) has insisted this provision be included in any COVID-negotiations thus far, however he recently proposed dropping both controversial items from this package entirely and addressing them later in order to pass a package with items that could be agreed upon now. 
      Once we receive legislative text we will be sure to share any updates here on the network. Thank you.

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      ASBO USA
      asbousa@asbointl.org
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    • 14.  RE: CARES 2 / Next COVID Relief Package Update

      Posted 12-18-2020 13:16
      Edited by ASBO USA 12-18-2020 13:16

      ASBO International is still waiting to see final legislative text from Congress for a massive spending package that could include $1.4 trillion in FY21 funding for federal agencies through September 30, 2021 as well as a fifth COVID-relief bill totaling nearly $900 billion. While these provisions are still being negotiated, our latest intel indicates the following provisions may be included:

      • Roughly $600 for another round of stimulus checks for Americans, but there may be stricter eligibility requirements to receive them.
      • Extra unemployment benefits of $300/week.
      • Approximately $325 billion for small businesses and money for transportation, vaccine distribution, and education. ($82 billion of that would be for education, however only $52-$54 billion would go to K-12 education). K-12 funding is likely to be distributed according to the CARES Act's Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund.


      Some of the issues that are holding up negotiations include:

      • Details on eligibility for who can receive stimulus checks.
      • Specifics on how to spend health care funding in the package.
      • Whether to include additional FEMA funding for disaster relief in the package.
      • How to wind down Federal Reserve emergency lending programs.
      • Whether to increase SNAP benefits and other outstanding issues regarding providing families additional food assistance (SNAP).
      • Details about eviction moratoriums and how much funding should be made available for small businesses (e.g., PPP and SBA loans).
      • Whether employer liability will be included, and how much aid will be provided to state and local governments.
      • It is still unlikely that FFCRA paid sick/family leave benefits will be extended, though it is still an issue up for negotiation. 
      • Whether the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) deadline for spending funds will be extended into 2021. 


      Congress will likely have to pass another short-term CR to keep the government open as lawmakers finalize COVID-relief negotiations, since the text is still being drafted and would need time to clear the House, Senate, and President's desk. We hope to have more information early next week. 



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      ASBO USA
      asbousa@asbointl.org
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    • 15.  RE: CARES 2 / Next COVID Relief Package Update

      Posted 12-21-2020 16:41

      This afternoon, Congress released the legislative text for a 5,500+ page $2.3 trillion omnibus package, which would provide FY21 funding for federal agencies and programs through September 30, another round of emergency COVID relief, and authorize/extend programs set to expire by the end of this year.

      For a high-level breakdown of what's included in the package, please read our latest legislative blog. Note the bill will not become law unless it clears the House, Senate, and President's desk this week. 



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      ASBO USA
      asbousa@asbointl.org
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    • 16.  RE: CARES 2 / Next COVID Relief Package Update

      Posted 01-06-2021 17:23
      For school business professionals interested in learning more about what is included in the most recent COVID-relief and FY21 federal funding package passed on December 27, 2020, please read ASBOUSA's latest blog, "$2.3T Omnibus Analysis: COVID Relief & FY21 Funding Highlights."

      The blog has been updated with new information and resources since its original post. Note that funding from the COVID-relief bill is emergency federal FY20 funding, and will be available to districts to use this school year (although the deadline to spend funds isn't until September 2022). Meanwhile FY21 federal funding will affect the dollars available to districts for the 2021-2022 school year. There are several links at the end of the blog to help school business professionals estimate how much funding they may receive from the fifth COVID-relief bill as well.

      The Department of Education issued a press release commenting on the $54 billion of COVID-relief funding included for K-12 education, which will be of interest to school business professionals as well. ASBO International is pleased to see Congress and ED provide additional financial assistance to schools as they respond to the COVID-19 crisis, but we recognize that more aid is still needed. We at ASBO are proud to continue advocating with our members in 2021 under the new Congress and administration. Thank you so much for your advocacy on behalf of your students, schools, and communities!


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      ASBO USA
      asbousa@asbointl.org
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    • 17.  RE: CARES 2 / Next COVID Relief Package Update

      Posted 01-07-2021 15:06
      The Department of Education's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education released this fact sheet and this two-pager with information comparing ESSER funds under the CARES Act (ESSER I) and ESSER funds under the recently-passed CAA/CRRSA package (ESSER II). School business professionals can reference this fact sheet for understanding when funds are available, when SEAs must award funds by, how funds may be used, equitable services and MOE provisions, and reporting and tracking requirements for these funds.

      Note: ED's fact sheet says CARES ESSER I funds must be spent by September 2022 and CAA/CRRSA ESSER II funds must be spent by September 2023, whereas the CARES and CAA/CRRSA statutes say LEAs must spend these funds by a year earlier (September 2021 and 2022 respectively). The reason for the timeline discrepancy is because of the Tydings Amendment; EDGAR will allow districts an extra 12 months to spend their funds. Technically, LEAs have until September 30, 2022 to spend CARES ESSA I funds and until September 30, 2023 to spend CAA/CRRSA ESSER II funds.

      We have updated our legislative blog with this information and other resources. We encourage ASBO members to bookmark the blog and check back for regular updates as we receive more information. In addition, we will continue to update ASBO's COVID-19 Blog for federal guidance and information too.

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      ASBO USA
      asbousa@asbointl.org
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